Oakland A’s give 9-year-old wildfire victim new baseball memorabilia – USA TODAY
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Nine-year-old Loren Jade Smith lost his large collection of Oakland A’s memorabilia earlier this month when his family’s Northern California home was destroyed by wildfires.
Smith’s collection has now multiplied, thanks to the A’s and the baseball community.
A’s president Dave Kaval, manager Bob Melvin and catcher Bruce Maxwell visited Loren and his parents on Friday in Santa Rosa, giving him new A’s gear to replace what he lost in the fires.
The A’s also presented Smith with memorabilia donated by MLB teams and fans across the country, as well as new baseball cards. The team had created a donation hub, and a number of former players — including ex-A’s pitcher Dan Haren and retired Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis — offered to help.
After the fire, Loren wrote a letter to the A’s, telling them about the items he had lost when his home burned, including “my baseball collection cards, my 17 jerseys and 10 hats.” The letter was picked up by a local TV station and went viral on social media.
“It hits you like a ton of bricks, because you know the family’s going through so much,” Kaval told USA TODAY Sports by phone earlier this week. “I thought the least we could do is obviously outfit the family and get them new A’s gear, and that response I think just kicked off a whole groundswell of support.”
On Friday, the A’s posted video footage of a wide-eyed Smith accepting autographed jerseys from Maxwell and Melvin.
Contributing: Tom Schad, USA TODAY Sports
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